I got an interesting call from a person representing one of the banks in Singapore on how they can give me back my money with a service charge imposed on it. Actually, it’s one of those “fund transfer program” that the banks offer you at 0% interest but with a “processing fee” of a few percent. Mine went this way:

Me: Hello

Bank lady: Hello. May I speak to Miss XXX?

Me: Yes, speaking.

BL: Hi, Miss XXX, this is YYY calling on behalf of bank ZZZ. Can I have a moment of your time?

Me: Yes, how can I be of service to you?

BL: Erm, our bank would like to offer you a zero percent funds transfer program. You can transfer up to $A from your personal loan account with just a 2% processing fee for 6 months.

Me: Oh, ok. So it’s effectively 4% interest p.a. on upfront loan amount

BL: Yes.

Me: Hmm… I understand that I have a positive balance in my account. So, do you charge your processing fee on that amount as well?

BL: *a little lost for words* Please hold on while I speak to my supervisor

*meanwhile, I buffer my nails with the new $50 thingie that I got from one of those standalone cart stores – yeah, I got ripped off*

BL: Hello Miss XXX, thanks for waiting. I have checked for you, because it is a processing fee and not interest, your positive balance will also be charged a processing fee.

Me: So, you are saying that I have to pay a fee to withdraw my own money from my account?

BL: Erm… yes.

Me: Does this sound right to you?

BL: Ya… because this is a processing fee and not interests on the principle sum, that’s why there’s a fee for it.

Me: It’s ok. Thanks. I am not interested.


Personally, I am amused that the bank actually bothers to call someone who has a positive balance in the loan account to offer a fund transfer program that charges the account holder for money that belongs to him or her. What the above effectively means is that, if I have a personal loan account of $50 and I have $30 on top of that $50 personal credit account (meaning, I can withdraw a total of $80 – with the first $30 belonging to me and the next $50 belonging to the bank that I have to pay interest for), and if I were to take up the fund transfer program, I would have to pay a processing fee for the $30 that belongs to me. This is all because it’s a “processing fee” which is based on the amount of money that the bank transfer out for you.

Kinda ridiculous, isn’t it? Perhaps they are not expecting people to put money in a loan account (which also acts conveniently as a checking account that is also conveniently tied to a personal credit just in case there is not enough money), and I am not expecting them to change any of the rules they have. However, they should perhaps assess their clientele data properly before dishing out loans to everyone out there.

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